West Brom’s Chris Brunt said he was ashamed of some Albion supporters after being hit by a coin in an act described by Tony Pulis as ‘barbaric’.
The Northern Ireland international had gone over to applaud the visiting fans following their FA Cup fifth round exit at Reading but went down clutching his face as he approached the away end.
Brunt, who suffered a cut under his left eye, said a coin had been thrown at him by the fans while boss Pulis claimed the player could have been blinded.
Brunt said: “I’ve still got the 50p. I spotted a little girl in the front row and wanted to give her my shirt.
“Obviously there’s some people in the front who were angry, understandably, because we didn’t play well or got the result we wanted.
“But there’s absolutely no excuse for that and no place for it in football. I’ve been here a long time. Obviously we all get our fair share of stick but to be hit with a coin by your own fans is absolutely disgusting.
“The guy who threw it knows who he is and knows all this week where I’ll be, and next Saturday if he wants to come and have a word about it that’s not a problem – I’ll meet him wherever he wants.
“I’ve been here a long time and I’ve loved my time here and that’s the first time I’ve been ashamed of our supporters. A small minority obviously ruined it for the rest of the 4,000 who were there and paid good money for a day trip.
Boss Pulis said: “We have seen an incident where a lad who has played over 300 games for this club could have had his eye out.
“He has a cut and it’s not too far away from his eye, it’s an inch away from striking him in his eye and if that happens we’re talking (about) a very, very serious problem.
“It’s barbaric. That’s not acceptable. West Bromwich Albion is a fantastic football club, a famous club, but you can’t condone that.
“I think the police have to get involved in this. I don’t think you can allow that to go by. That’s criminal, and I mean criminal.
“This has got to be one of the worst things I have seen, for Chris to have a coin thrown at him from his own supporters having been at the club for such a long time. Every decent supporter of the club will be absolutely devastated it has happened to their football club.
“It’s the way the game is going. Social media and everything else builds up an anti-feeling if things are not going well at football clubs. We have to be very careful with it.”
Brunt, 31, did hand his shirt over to a supporter after gesturing and remonstrating with another group who had made their way to the front of the stand as he moved closer to apologise for Albion’s exit.
Reading boss Brian McDermott added: “It’s outrageous, stuff like that, it’s not right and proper. We will co-operate with whatever we have to and make sure we find the person who threw it.”
Goals from Paul McShane, Michael Hector and Lucas Piazon cancelled out Darren Fletcher’s opener to send Reading through to the FA Cup quarter-finals for just the fifth time in their history.
Albion have won just twice in the last 11 games, with Pulis under pressure from a section of supporters. The Baggies are 14th in the Barclays Premier League, eight points above the relegation zone.